Monthly Archives: February 2020

Apple fined in France

By french competition watchdog decision apple has been fined for $27 million. Three years ago the company was suspected of slowing down older devices without informing its customers about it and with no option to revert to an older software version. Also, they didn’t inform users that it can be fixed just by replacing battery instead of the entire phone. According to an explanation released by apple, they decided to throttle phones to prolong battery life. Yet but not informing clients about the cause of the slowdown users might be misled and in result overpay for exchange of the whole phone. As a result, Apple was fined $27 million and had to put an informing banner on the french version of the website.

Headlight range control in present cars

Let’s begin with mentioning headlight types used in all cars that we usually see during the day. The first one, and still the most popular are:
Halogen headlights – The cheapest ones and obviously the least effective. Basically, it’s just a bulb placed in a reflector.

Image result for a6 c7 halogen headlights
Xenon headlights – One step higher over halogen system. The traditional bulb is replaced with a xenon filament which transfers the light through a glass lens. Unlike Halogen lights, xenons emit a different, colder colour.

Image result for a6 c7 xenon headlights
LED/Laser headlights – Currently the best and most advanced solution. The filament is replaced with a LED light. This creates new possibilities in upgrading headlights with new features.

Image result for a6 c7 matrix headlights
But back to the topic. After the new type of headlight was released (xenon lights), engineers realized that the beam is too strong. The government found that out quickly as well, so changes had to be done in order not to blind other drivers while driving the car. From that moment no car could be produced with xenon lights without the changes in the car imposed by the government. The changes are simple, yet for a car manufacturer, it’s a challenge because cars are designed to be as cheap in production as it’s possible.

So let’s begin with the first change – Headlight washers. Because of the dirt that is building up on the headlight during driving the light beam is beginning to distract. This can lead to blinding other road users, so in case of xenon lights headlight washers are mandatory to clean the lights and prevent them from blinding others

Second change – Automatic headlight levelling. I’ll give an example: You want to go for holidays, you pack your car with everything you need and the result is, that due to heavy load on the rear axle the back of the car is lower than the front of the car. Since the headlights are fixed to the car, when they aim higher, they blind others. The automatic headlight levelling system is responsible for adjusting headlights automatically

Threads – new standalone Instagram app?

In October 2019, Instagram launched its new app called «Threads». It is a new application fro messaging people from «close friends» list. It is believed, that Threads was created as a new one direct competitor to Snapchat, the next step to privacy and the next point of gaining popularity among users.

Instagram announced that it has received a lot of requests to improve ways of connecting with your friends in order to keep in touch with them all over the day by sharing photos, videos or ordinary messages. Now, Threads plays a role of more private space for people to communicate with each other.

Main goals of Threads are for you to control who is able to reach you, to have a quick access to people you are close with and an opportunity to stay connected with them even if you are not chatting and even if you are not online.

Threads gives you the ability to share your location, battery power of your device, amount of steps per day or your actions ( your mood, what are you doing, what are you up to, etc.)

However, you are put into some «frames». For example, you cannot use such a wide range of stickers in Threads stories as you do in Instagram. You cannot draw lines, add some text. At the same time, it doesn’t matter where did you post your story — it will be shown both in Instagram and Threads. 

To be honest, I am pretty confused about implementing such an add. It is a response to separate «Direct Inst.» app, which was not exclusively demanded and deleted. However, both Direct and Threads don’t differ a lot. The only change is that you can post status like «On my way🚗», «At the library📚», « Hate math:(», «Blue mood😅» to inform your closest friends about what’s going on in your life.

I cannot say that this application hasn’t been swimming in a glory since it was launched in October. 

What is the reason of creating an independent app if it gives you almost  the same opportunities as you had before?

I have read some feedback, comments on Threads and found out that people divided into 2 camps. Somebody says, that using of direct became more convenient and faster, somebody writes that they see no sense.

What is your opinion? Do you think this «innovation » was really so necessary and made our lives easier?

Video for you to have a more clear understanding:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4KL7BJ_r7g

 

 

References:

https://ain.ua/2019/10/04/instagram-zapustil-threads/https://about.instagram.com/blog/announcements/introducing-threads-app/

https://spark.ru/user/32011/blog/51700/threads-novij-messendzher-ot-instagram

https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-threads/

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.instagram.threadsapp&hl=uk&showAllReviews=true

 

Electric cars.. just a car or a trend to save the environment.

Electric cars have been around for quite some time now. The most revolutionary, advanced and well known are Teslas created by Elon Musk. People are acknowledging that there is such opportunity to own and drive an electric car. And we cannot deny that the trend is there. There are more and more electric car charging stations set up, even in Poland where people are very skeptical. There are newer and faster charging stations developed. Although most cars are petrol powered there is inevitable switch coming. Will electric cars hang on to it or will hydrogen-powered ones take over? This question is yet to be answered. Some say that electric car’s range critical point is about 600km. Over that the development is supposedly not worth it, but we are still to see what’s coming.

The mindset of people is changing. We care more and more about ecology, environment around us. Usually it is just awareness or minimalizing the effects (e.g. masks in cities to filter harmful particles). But awareness, acknowledging that the problem IS there is the first step. Electric cars are much more ecological. Especially if country’s electric energy is becoming more greener. Nevertheless I see a change in peoples’ mindset towards electric solutions.

Hell I am a full on “petrol-head”. I am huge motorsports fan, F1 fan, I love the sound of engines, of the exhausts.. And when I think of cars.. I see electric ones up there. If I could choose to drive any car, my mind recently changed and moves in electric direction. Which is a spectacular change for a person who is all about petrol in his blood. That is no proof but I think the trend is there to change peoples’ mind. The fact that the infrastructure is there and is growing. Few years ago we could not have driven in Poland to some places in an electric car.. now it is mostly possible. There are barely any “dead spots”. It adds to the fact that most advanced electric cars increase their range on one “charge”  (which itself is becoming quicker). Which is amazing and as electric cars become cheaper people have fewer and fewer excuses not to buy an electric vehicle. Of course there is tradition and their mindset – that “new” is most likely to be faulty, the fear of the unknown – is still there. But in my opinion the change is inevitable and is coming. Whether it is electric cars takeover the market of “new” cars bought or some newer solutions like “hydrogen” powered cars. Only time will tell the truth of the future.

 

Referencing:

“https://www.topgear.com/car-news/electric/these-are-the-top-ten-everyday-electric-cars-you-need-to-know-about#1”

“https://www.goultralow.com/ev-owners/benefits/”

“https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/01/business/future-electric-cars-2020.html”

“https://youtu.be/FL1Fo1Ok2kE”

“https://youtu.be/ZH7V2tU3iFc”

 

Pablo Escobar’s brother presents his own smartphone

A new smartphone is coming to the market – Escobar Fold 2. It is part of the trend of folding telephones with flexibles screens. What distinguish it from the competition is its price – it is valued at $399, while for example also flexible Huawei Mate X costs about $2,000. This may be due to the fact that the device is not a proprietary construction, but a wrapped smartphone from China sold under the brand of famous drug lord’s brother.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania: fold 2 esboR"

This phone has two screens – 4.6 inch external screen and 7.3 inch main screen. Its camera has a total of 5 lenses, of which the main has 12 megapixels. It’s design is very similar to its competitor from Samsung – Galaxy Fold. Device is driven by a processor Snapdragon 855. Battery has a cell with a capacity of 4380 mAh and is charged by USB type C. Fold 2 is equipped with fingerprint sensor on the edge of the device. Smartphone is powered by Android 10, but we still don’t know if it is clean operating system or with overlays.

Roberto De Jesus Escobar Gaviria tries to convince customers with his recognizable name, low price and naked models in commercials. He promotes his product as a “Samsung-Killer”.

 

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania: ESCOBAR fold 2"

Device will be available in sales in March. The manufacturer intends to produce 200,000 units of this model. It will be only available in gold colour. 

 

References:

https://www.escobarinc.com/product/fold2/

https://www.telepolis.pl/wiadomosci/sprzet/rip-samsung-roberto-escobar-ma-nowy-rozkladany-smartfon-chce-pograzyc-galaxy-folda

https://www.spidersweb.pl/2020/02/escobar-fold-2-galaxy-fold.html

AuraRing – tracks your finger’s location

Although computer-based vision-based hand-tracking is becoming a viable solution for AR and VR headsets, the problem of optical-tracking accuracy remains unfull. AuraRing fits into that. AuraRing is the new electromagnetic tracking system, developed by researchers at Washington University, provides a combination of high-resolution detection and low power consumption to support AR, VR and wider uses for wearables.

AuraRing consists of two pieces. The first is a finger-sized index ring with a wire coil that coils around a 3D printed circle 800 times, using a tiny battery to produce a magnetic field oscillating with a volume just of 2.3 milliwatts. The ring’s five degrees of freedom (DoF) orientation at any given time is determined with 3 sensor coils from a wristband. The machine resolution is 0,1 mm and the dynamic accuracy is 4,4 mm, far better than is obtained by tracking the external camera of the same finger.

With these sensing rates, a finger can be used to write legibly in the air without a contact pad and to provide feedback taps and flip movements that can monitor a screened computer from a distance. Thanks to the implementation of magnetic sensing, researchers suggest that even a visually darkened finger can send text messages, interact with device user interfaces and play games. In fact, AuraRing is designed to work with several finger and hand sizes.

While the illustration of the researchers shows a conceptual wristband, the idea is to simply attach the wrist sensors to a smartwatch or to another computer wearing a wrist, so that the consumer can incorporate finger sensing precision in the handle if appropriate. If you want the additional benefits, just put it on your bracelet, then you will continue to have all of the potentials of today’s smartwatches,’ explained co-leading investigator Farshid Salemi Parizi.

A video showing AuraRing in action shows how it can be used on computer or virtual smartphone displays for reconstruction, handwriting recognition, and input selection. The research was funded by the Reality project, Twitter, Futurewei, and Google of the University of Washington. It is worth noting that Microsoft, headquartered in Redmond, Washington deals with a wider range of sensors for similar purposes on its own responsive smart ring.

 

 

 

References:

  • https://venturebeat.com/2020/02/03/researchers-show-auraring-a-low-power-5dof-gesture-ring-and-wristband
  • https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200203141505.htm
  • https://youtu.be/j6p9zqXpTF0
  • https://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/223266.php?from=454497

Microsoft’s Seeing AI – The Talking Camera for The Blind

With a clever wordplay on “seeing eye”; Microsoft revolutionizes accessibility with their app Seeing AI which makes the visually impaireds’ life a lot easier. The app is not just a basic text to speech app, it offers many ground-breaking features that can truly change lives: it can read documents or handwritten text aloud, it can recognize products from their barcode, recognize and locate the faces of people you’re with, as well as facial characteristics, approximate age, emotion, describe sceneries or colors around you, as well as identify currency bills if you’re paying in cash. Point is, if you’re visually challenged, your approach to day to day tasks will never be the same. As Microsoft themselves introduced it:

”Seeing AI is a Microsoft research project that brings together the power of the cloud and AI to deliver an intelligent app, designed to help you navigate your day. It turns the visual world into an audible experience.”

The app is also available in English, Dutch, French, German, Japanese and Spanish with more languages to come in the future. The only minor hiccup with this app, in my opinion, is the fact that it is only available for iPhone users though I hope that eventually, it’ll also be available on Android. After all, the Android operating system is currently the most popular mobile operating system in the world.
We can witness firsthand in the following video how Seeing AI impacts a blind person’s life in more ways than one. Not only does it make it easier when it comes to practical matters like reading and dealing with money, but it also helps him socially: It plays a role in bringing him closer to his family and friends and gives him access to social media interactions in a way that he never experienced before.

The app is also available in English, Dutch, French, German, Japanese and Spanish with more languages to come in the future. The only minor hiccup with this app, in my opinion, is the fact that it is only available for iPhone users though I hope that eventually, it’ll also be available on Android. After all, the Android operating system is currently the most popular mobile operating system in the world.